Bipartisan Group of 116 Lawmakers Call to Extend Temporary Protections for Salvadorans and Hondurans

Democratic and Republican Members of Congress ask Acting Secretary of Homeland Security to renew program due to dire conditions in Honduras and El Salvador

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Randy Hultgren (R-IL), co-chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, along with Representatives Norma Torres (D-CA) and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), led a bipartisan group of 116 lawmakers calling on the Trump Administration to extend temporary protections for Salvadorans and Hondurans living in the United States.

The letter asks Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke to renew the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for these individuals due to dire conditions in Honduras and El Salvador. According to the letter, there is a temporary but substantial disruption to living standards in both countries due to Hurricane Mitch in Honduras and a series of major earthquakes in El Salvador. Violence in both countries has made recovery more difficult.

“Failing to renew these protections would tear apart families across the country and undermine U.S. efforts to advance prosperity and security in Central America,” said Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA). “I sincerely hope that Acting Secretary Duke and the Trump Administration extend TPS just as previous Democratic and Republican administrations have done before. TPS holders are valued friends, neighbors, and business owners in our communities and they deserve to stay until conditions back home stabilize.”

“Renewing the Temporary Protected Status designation for El Salvador and Honduras after natural disasters and the continued violence and political unrest is the right thing to do for current TPS holders and United States’ foreign policy,” said Congressman Randy Hultgren (R-IL). “To send people home now, when their countries have no viable way to safely handle their reentry, would further destabilize the region and may require further humanitarian action by the United States. The United States should maintain our leadership position on the international stage by following through with our shared commitment to basic human rights and protections for those fleeing disasters and violence.”

“The livelihoods and safety of around 300,000 Central Americans are in the hands of Acting Secretary Duke and the Trump administration. I am proud to join a bipartisan group of members in calling on Acting Secretary Duke to extend TPS, for the sake of stability in Honduras and El Salvador and out of consideration for the fact that TPS holders have made their lives here,” said Congresswoman Norma Torres (D-CA).

“For almost two decades, Presidents from both parties have recognized that granting Temporary Protected Status to people whose lives would be in danger if sent back to their home countries is the compassionate and quintessentially American thing to do,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ). “America has long been a refuge for families fleeing extreme poverty, violence and natural disasters. Extending TPS for Central Americans is consistent with this proud tradition and with our values as a nation. Moreover, failing to do so would jeopardize bipartisan efforts to bring stability and prosperity to the region. I am hopeful that the Administration will heed our letter and ensure that TPS holders can remain in the United States and continue to contribute to our businesses, schools and communities.”

The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country's nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or give any other immigration status.

There are currently approximately 200,000 Salvadorans who hold TPS and the approximately 61,000 Hondurans. TPS designations have been made and extended under administrations of both political parties since its creation by statute in 1990.

Click here to view the signed letter.

Joining Representatives McGovern, Hultgren, Torres, and Gallego on the letter were Representatives Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Don Beyer, Jr. (D-VA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Joe Crowley (D-NY), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), Darren Soto (D-FL), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), André Carson (D-IN), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), John Lewis (D-GA), Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Val Demings (D-FL), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Judy Chu (D-CA), J. Luis Correa (D-CA), Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), José Serrano (D-NY), Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA), Anthony Brown (D-MD), Michael Capuano (D-MA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Bobby Rush (D-IL), John Yarmuth (D-KY), Marc Veasey (D-TX), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Bradley Schneider (D-IL), Ruben Kihuen (D-NV), Adam Smith (D-WA), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Mark Pocan (D-WI), David Cicilline (D-RI), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Richard Neal (D-MA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Kathy Castor (D-FL), John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Peter Welch (D-VT), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Bill Keating (D-MA), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Jared Polis (D-CO), Rick Larsen (D-WA), David Price (NC), Mike Coffman (R-CO), Ann Kuster (D-NH), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Dina Titus (D-NV), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Hank Johnson, Jr. (D-GA), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Bill Foster (D-IL), Joe Kennedy (D-MA), Filemon Vela (D-TX), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), John Delaney (D-MD), Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Gerald Connolly (D-VA), Lois, Frankel (D-FL), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), Al Lawson, Jr. (D-FL), and Nita M. Lowey (D-NY).

The text of the letter is below:

Dear Acting Secretary Duke,

We write to strongly urge you to renew the Temporary Protected Status designation for Honduras and El Salvador.

Failing to renew TPS would needlessly tear apart families and communities across the country. There are currently approximately 200,000 Salvadorans who hold TPS and the approximately 61,000 Hondurans. TPS holders from Honduras and El Salvador have become valued and important members of our communities. They have started families, opened businesses, and contributed to this country in countless ways. They are part of the fabric of America.

Honduras and El Salvador remain unprepared to receive these individuals. As the most recent TPS extension notes, there is a “substantial, but temporary, disruption of living conditions” in both countries, resulting from Hurricane Mitch in Honduras and a series of earthquakes in El Salvador. Unfortunately, conditions have not improved sufficiently since the most recent extension. Additionally, El Salvador and Honduras are ranked as among the most violent countries in the world, and job opportunities are scarce. These factors complicate the ability of Honduras and El Salvador to fully recover from the natural disasters that resulted in their original designation.

The potential return of hundreds of thousands of former TPS holders to Honduras and El Salvador would likely bring destabilizing consequences throughout the region. At the Conference for Prosperity and Security in Central America, you stated that the “U.S. Homeland Security mission is affected directly by what goes on in Central America.” We agree, and we are deeply concerned that failing to renew TPS status for Honduras and El Salvador would undermine U.S. efforts to advance prosperity and security in Central America.

TPS designations have been made and extended under administrations of both political parties since its creation by statute in 1990; extension of these TPS designations is not only fully within your authority but completely appropriate given the country conditions. We strongly urge you to renew TPS, in order to preserve the integrity of American families and communities, and to steady the path of progress being made toward stability in the region.

Thank you for your consideration of this important request.